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ALBUQUERQUE Despite being sidelined while recovering from an ankle injury suffered almost two weeks ago, team captain Kory Nelson was still doing what he could to fire his teammates up.
In Saturdays final bout, Nelson casually reminded Los Alamos Hilltopper heavyweight wrestler Eric Carlson that if he scored a pin in his consolation final match-up with Albuquerque Academys Stephen Sagartz that the Hilltoppers would finish third in total team points.
But no pressure, Nelson added just before Carlson went to check in at the scorers table.
That nugget worked like a charm, however, as Carlson shoved Sagartz around in the contest, scoring a second-period pin, giving the Toppers a razor-thin edge over La Cueva for third place.
Los Alamos ended with 99 points at Saturdays Albuquerque Academy Invitational, edging out the Class AAAAA La Cueva by a lone point to pick up the third-place trophy. Rio Grande won the tournament with a whopping 211 points, while Valley finished second with 167.
I didnt want to let down the team, Carlson said after quickly breaking down Sagartz to open the second period of their bout. We all came out trying to get the team win, but with our small numbers, thats hard.
Carlson simply overpowered his opponent and had him flat on his back just 21 seconds into the period.
It was an impressive day for the Hilltoppers at the six-team individual tournament seven teams were scheduled, but Los Alamos District 2AAAA opponent Bernalillo was a no-show advancing five wrestlers into the championship round and two others into the consolation finals.
Zak Wilde at 152 pounds earned an individual championship, handily defeating La Cuevas Scott Folkman in the championship bout, 7-2. Wilde dominated the first two periods of the title contest, finishing the second period with a 3-point nearfall to take a commanding 7-0 lead, then held on working off the bottom after a quick third period reversal.
Hilltopper head coach Eric Sorenson said he was happy with his teams finish, especially with a good crop of talent for it being a small event. Of the competing schools, three of them were from Class AAAAA.
Sorenson he was particularly impressed with the performances of Wilde and Kameron Sanders, a freshman who advanced to the championship bout at 130 pounds.
Sanders pinned La Cuevas Bob Hill in the second period to open his day Saturday, before holding off Valleys Dominique Olivas 7-5 to advance to the final round.
He was really strong, Sanders said of Olivas, who took a momentary 4-3 lead in the second period on an early-round takedown before Sanders pulled Olivas off and got on top to retake the advantage. I gave it my best effort and pulled out a win.
I felt really confident, he said. It was a good day.
Along with Sanders and Wilde, Paul Martinez, Brandon May and Blaine Lattin all advanced to the championship round.
Martinez, at 112, wrestling in his first event of the season, nipped Valleys Ishaiah Martinez 4-1 in the opening round. Martinez pinned Bataan Militarys Collin Wheeler in just 33 seconds to advance to the title bout before losing in a first-round pin to Rio Grandes Andrew Grosetete.
At 145, Brandon May got a first-round bye, then upended Rio Grandes Adam Padilla 14-2 in the semifinals before being pinned by Valleys Elliot Padilla.
Lattin had only one contest in the 189-pound bracket, getting a first-round bye and a second-round forfeit before dropping the title bout to Rio Grandes Charlie Padilla, 11-3.
Desmond Fellers, filling in for Nelson at 125, finished third, picking up a forfeit in the consolation final.